Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Versa Carry

While we are on the subject of warm weather carry pistols lets also review a new mode of carry.  I guess I should start by saying that I love simple, minimalistic things and ideas and the Versa Carry device is so minimal and simple that I could kick myself for not thinking of it first.

As you can see the Versa Carry is a Kydex clip kind of in an "S" shape.  A white barrel support rod protrudes vertically from the bottom of the "S" which serves to keep your pistol from shifting out of place while you are carrying your concealed weapon.  The top part of the "S" curves around into a clip that fits snugly over your belt.  So, to "holster up" with the Versa Carry device you place the barrel of your weapon over the support rod 

and begin to push the weapon and device inside the waistband of your pants 

while you pull the top "S" clip out and over your belt. 
The handgun is now very firmly set in place.  It is not likely to move unless you have your belt on very loosely and your pants are a size or two too large.

It is also very easy to tuck your shirt in between the weapon and your waistband for occasions where you cannot wear an untucked shirt.  Now the clip over your belt would be visible but if someone asks I just tell them it is a medical device and that usually ends their curiosity.     

The obvious comparison to the Versa Carry would be the Clip Draw device which was my primary carry mode for Glocks, 1911's, and J-frame revolvers for several years.  One of the primary advantages of the Versa Carry over the Clip Draw apparatus is that you do not have to permanently attach the clip to your weapon.   

All in all this is a nifty little design and perfect for the concealed carry licensee who finds that the bulk of a traditional holster makes it difficult to carry a concealed weapon for any length of time.

I showed this device off to several friends who find a dark cloud in every silver lining and they came up with some concerns about the design which I want to address.

Perceived Issues

Perceived Issue #1:
There is a standing debate as to whether you should carry a round in the chamber of your pistol if your pistol does not have an external, manually applied safety and/or if your carry mode does not cover the trigger guard.  If you check your Glock manual, Glock does not recommend carrying a round in the chamber regardless of how you are carrying your pistol.  Both Clip Draw and Versa Carry do not recommend carrying a pistol with a round in the chamber when using their devices but quite frankly I have not had a problem carrying with a round in the chamber with either device.   Safety devices are not a "be all, end all" proposition.  First of all, given time any mechanical device will be prone to failure and secondly, safety devices do not cure unsafe gun handling practices.  You Tube is loaded with postings showing negligent discharges from people who had 1911's with both a grip safety and external slide safety.  The negligent shots were due to the fact that they were not following the basic safe gun handling rules.  

Hence, the Versa Carry device is no less or no more safe than the person who is using it.  Respect your weapon, handle it responsibly and you will be in just as good if not better shape than someone whose wonder pistol has three passive and two manual safeties.  

Perceived Issue #2:
If the support rod breaks off in my barrel won't it cause my barrel and/or breach to blow up?  

Not likely.  The support rod is cut to be a smaller diameter than the bore of your barrel.  The rod is also made of Delrin which has natural lubricating properties and it is fairly slick.  So if, in the heat of battle, you break the retention rod during your draw it is more than likely just going to fall out as long as you are using the the correct Versa Carry model for the handgun caliber you are carrying.  In other words, don't try to save money by stuffing your 9mm handgun on your .40 caliber Versa Carry.

Perceived Issue #3
I don't like putting anything in my barrel, especially from the muzzle; isn't the support rod going to scratch my bore or otherwise mar my rifling?  

Again, not likely and for the same reasons above.  But the reasons this is not likely are:

  1. The support rod is tapered at the top making insertion very easy
  2. The support rod is cut to be a smaller diameter than the bore of the caliber you are carrying
  3. The Delrin support rod is a fairly soft polymer
  4. The Delrin material has self lubricating properties
All of this means that your pistol barrel will slip over the support rod very easily and the risk of somehow marring the rifling is extremely low.  If you somehow find yourself having difficulty getting your barrel over the support rod you are probably not using the Versa Carry device specified for the caliber of weapon you are carrying.  

Perceived Issue #4
There isn't any type of active retention strap; what's to keep someone from snatching my pistol?

This is a concealed carry device so know one should know you are carrying a handgun.  If they do then whatever type of garment is covering the weapon is insufficient and that is not your holster's fault.

Versa Carry Advantages

Along with the providing a carry option that is way less bulky than a traditional holster there are other distinct advantages to the Versa Carry device.

It is easy to remove the Versa Carry should you need to take it off upon entering a bathroom stall or need to lock it in your trunk upon arriving at a destination where concealed carry is banned such as a federal building.  There are no belt loops requiring you to take half your belt off to remove the weapon.  It is also easy to make a quick transition from strong side carry to cross draw if you are driving or going to be sitting for a long period of time.

If someone finds that carrying is not easy or is uncomfortable or self conscious about the bulk of a holstered weapon then they are very likely to leave the weapon at home.  All in all, the Versa Carry device makes it easier for the concealed carry permit holder to carry their pistol and that is the kind of innovation we need.


Al said...

Looks good! I will give this a try as many who read this we all have the proverbial drawer full of holsters, OK now I need one for my .380, 9mm .40 and of course my 45 lol! Brilliant.

Eclectic Breakfast said...

Very interesting solution. I wonder if they could make it of a single piece of kydex instead of using the separate delrin rod and a screw - simpler is better.

As for downsides...

Unless your pistol is made of stainless or coated with one of the miracle finishes you can kiss the bluing on the left side of your gat goodbye. That's true for Mexican carry, the Clip Grip, or Clip Draw too.

Reholstering seems to call for removing the holster, reattaching it to the pistol, and reinserting the combination back into your waistband. Not a problem in use, but a nuisance for training.

Thanks for the heads up. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

I like the idea, especially for concealability, but the huge negative IMO is no trigger protection. Stuffing that into your pants exposes the trigger to movement in exactly the wrong direction. I don't see why they couldn't design a model that had something that completely covered the trigger guard.

In fact, it wouldn't be that hard to make one of these yourself and to also include a trigger cover.

I have a Kel-Tec PF-9 that has a clip accessory that has the same issue with no trigger cover. I tested it by seeing if I could pull the trigger with it "holstered" in my jeans and I was able to fully pull the trigger and have the hammer fall on the firing pin. If it was loaded it would have gone off.

You never know what could happen. Freak accidents do occur. If you fall on something that has a protrusion it is in the realm of possibility of it engaging the trigger. That would be a negligent discharge.

The clip for my PF-9 was going to my choice for carry until I conducted that test.

Average Joe's Handgun Reviews said...


In October Versa Carry will be releasing their Generation II version which will include a trigger guard and you may trust that I will test and evaluate it as soon as I get my hands on one.

Sport Pilot said...

It’s a nice concept but in no way innovative as the DIY “string holster” long predates it. If you don’t know what a “string holster” is or how it works then I’ll explain. Take a predetermined length of twine, tie its ends together, run it behind your belt or pants loop and through itself with the free end going over your pants waist and inside the waistband.
You now have a loop of twine, string or cord to slip a revolver barrel or pistol slide through and keep the handgun from falling down your pants leg. While not the most secure of IWB holsters it is fairly field expedient, but given the absence of a trigger shield empty chamber carry would be prudent with a pistol.

Anonymous said...

I'll be trying this one myself. I don't see the issues some raise about no trigger guard. People have been using the Clip Draw for years and to me this seems like a better solution. I don't think anyone out there is strong enough to poke their finger through their belt to pull the trigger when it is in place.

Anonymous said...

I have one for my Glock 19, works great so far. I do have the heavier NY1 spring in my glock.

Auspicious Breaker said...

I agree with the other posters that the trigger guard being covered is preferable. You can try to fashion a Kydex one or use a Raven Vanguard while you're waiting for the new versamax to come out.

Anonymous said...

I use a Safe-T-Blok with my Versa Carry and Glock 26, 27 and 23 and enjoy a lot less anxiety over the trigger guard issue. Also, my belt rides over the trigger guard such that it would take quite a jolt to pop out the Safe-T-Blok and still have the oomph to 'punch' the trigger.

mick said...

excellent concealment system. Simple, secure and comfortable.

Anonymous said...

Will the versacarry work well with a compact 1911?

Average Joe's Handgun Reviews said...


It will work fine. With the manual slide safety and the grip safety you your risk of an accidental discharge is low. I might think twice if I was a left handed shooter since the manual slide safety would be on the outside of my body.

Anonymous said...

I purchased one for my Kel-Tec P3AT, 380ACP. The problem I had with it was that as I wore it and moved around the gun began working its way up the rod. The company sent me a replacement but I found the same thing happened over and over. It might be due to the light weight of the P3AT. I feel that was not acceptable from a safety point and have returned my unit for refund.